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Isle Of Wight Festival Of Running: Victory For Islander In Needles Half Marathon

Picture: Michael Dangerfield of Wight Productions

The Isle of Wight Festival of Running has reached the finishing line for this year at least - and an Islander has claimed victory in one of the event's most popular races.

Gary Marshall, from Newport, won Sunday’s gruelling Needles Half Marathon, with a time of 1:19:11.

The 40-year-old started racing three years ago, winning the IW Marathon at his first attempt in 2018.

He was pipped at the post in the Needles Half in 2019, but won by four minutes on Sunday, crossing the line with his daughters Rosie and Megan.

Gary said:

“It was great to be back racing, at a super event on a glorious day with perfect conditions.

“I ran through the finish line with my two biggest fans – certainly a memory I'll cherish forever.”

Gary runs with Ryde Harriers and Wootton Bridge Runners and wore the red vest of the Ryde club on Sunday.

The Needles Half is the highlight of the IW Festival of Running, organised by the West Wight Sports & Community Centre (WWSCC), Freshwater.

The 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID-19 and this year’s five races attracted 700 runners – the most in the festival’s history.

Clare Griffin, WWSCC manager, said:

“The festival’s huge success was down to the fantastic runners of all ages and the wonderful volunteers who marshalled and ran registration.

“Running a Covid-safe event for 700 people over two days demanded a massive amount of planning, plus co-operation from everyone.

“We are also very grateful for sponsorship from Love Running, Bembridge Harbour, PO41 Yarmouth Coffee House and Wight Fibre.”

Other Needles Half Marathon results

  • Second man was Francesco Melloni (1:23:35) and third Joe Driscoll (1:27:26)
  • First woman was Valerie Sesto, 49, of Lymington, who had won the Needles Half about 10 years ago. Her time on Sunday was 1:36:17.
  • Second woman was Helen Scales (1:39:54) and third Poppy Tanner (1:45:19).

 

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